Section 5: Trip Two

The Three Fork Road from Bairoil to Atlantic City

 

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Beginning: 42.236578, -107.546852
     Ending: 42.494164, -108.732657
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This trip begins by turning off US-287 at mile #33 and taking W-73 west toward Bairoil. After four miles, and just before entering Bairoil, you turn south toward Bull Springs Rim on S-22. The county road then turns west and you begin following along Lost Soldier Creek below Twin Buttes. Along here Bull Springs Rim is off to the south. The eight miles to the top of the divide is washboarded and pretty rocky - but it gets better. On top you can see the Ferris and Seminoe Mountains to the east. The Green Mountains are to the north.

You pass by a 2-track road going north to A&M Reservoir and come to a junction (13 miles from US-287). Here you can turn south on the Sooner Road (BLM-3215) to the Great Divide Basin Road (see page 80). Continue west across wild horse country.

Eleven miles from the Sooner Road is the junction with the Wamsutter Road (S-23). Here you can see Crooks Gap to the north, Continental Peak and Oregon Buttes to the west, and Steamboat and South Table Mountain to the southwest. At this junction you can turn south on S-23 to Wamsutter or swing west to Rock Springs (see page 77 and page 80).

Turn north on S-23. You cross the county line after three miles and one mile further is an unmarked road turning west. Here you can see Bare Ring Butte off to the east. Continue north for two more miles to the next main junction. Here you can travel north to Jeffery City.

Turn west on the Three Fork Road (BLM-2317) to Atlantic City and the road travels along the base of Crooks Mountain. After three miles a small road turns south, but continue west through some curves and across Arapaho Creek. (The road is now a 2-track, but it is fairly wide and in good shape.) The road climbs up a bit and you have a good view of the Wind River Mountains to the west (near Atlantic City) and the Great Divide Basin to the south. From here the road swings out along a ridge overlooking part of Buffalo Basin on the south.

You follow along a divide for about four miles where you drop down into the East Alkali Creek drainage and then cross Stinking Spring Draw. Here the Three Fork Road turns north for one mile and then west again. Two miles from this zig-zag is a sheep camp. (This should be used as a reference point for people traveling in the opposite direction through this area.)

Three miles west of the sheep camp is a junction with the Bison Basin Road (BLM-3221). Here you can turn north across East Alkali Creek and follow a ridge above the creek. That road then drops down into Sweeny Basin and hits US-287 at mile #42, a half mile east of Sweetwater Station (15 miles).

Turn south and the road follows along the rim for three miles to another junction. Here the Bison Basin Road (BLM-3221) continues south to connect with the Osborne Road (BLM-3212) and the Hadsell Crossing Road (BLM-3217). Turn to the west for two miles and you pass by the turn off to the Bison Basin Oil Camp. The road then drops down and crosses West Alkali Creek (three miles). Here you continue west and begin following Sulfur Creek for a bit.

The road travels along a divide to the southwest for five miles and you can see Daley Lake to the south. Along this stretch, you can also see the pink and white bluffs of Honeycomb Buttes to the southwest and beyond them is Steamboat Mountain. To the west is Continental Peak and to the south is McKay Lake. After a few more miles, the road swings from southwest to west to northwest a bit. Along here you can see Scotty Lake south of McKay and to the west a bit is the larger Picket Lake.

Seventeen miles from the Bison Basin Road is a crossroads junction. Here the road north goes toward Horse Track Ridge. The Red Creek Road (BLM-3219) goes south past Picket Lake and then continues south to Rocky Crossing, Hay Reservoir and the Great Divide Basin Road (see page 80).

Take BLM-2317 to the northwest and head toward the Wind River Mountains. After six miles, you can see Continental Peak, Oregon Buttes, and Pacific Butte (long broad mountain) to the west. Five miles further, you cross Harris Slough and begin following the Sweetwater River. After two more miles, the road swings north across Long Slough to the Sweetwater Bridge at the confluence with Rock Creek (13 miles from the Red Creek Road).

After crossing the river, you follow Willow Creek north for six miles and pass by the Lewiston Road going southeast to Willies Hand Cart Site. Three miles further, you pass by the Pickaxe Road going northwest. Stay northeast and you get a terrific view of the Atlantic City area as the road drops down some switchbacks to Atlantic City.

In Atlantic City, turn west toward W-28 to a junction in one mile. Here you can go northwest on the Atlantic City Winter Road for two miles and hit W-28 at mile #45. Turn west for two miles to a junction above South Pass City. After visiting the historical site, you can turn north from this junction and hit W-28 at mile #43.

The South Pass City Historical Site is one of many interesting places to visit in the Atlantic City area.